Indie Music

The Vaccines: Pick-Up Full of Pink Carnations review – high-octane sonic euphoria

Last year’s departure of co-founder guitarist Freddie Cowan, following the 2016 exit of co-founding drummer Pete Robertson, doesn’t seem to have knocked the Vaccines off their stride. After five consecutive Top 5 albums, their sixth – featuring former touring guitarist Timothy Lanham – stays seamlessly true to the high-octane garage rock sound that has served them well. Opener Sometimes, I Swear is the sort of boisterously alienated anthem you can imagine being bellowed in the street. The likes of Lunar Eclipse, Sunkissed and The Dreamer offer more of the instantly catchy, effervescent pop songwriting the band patented on their first two albums, with big singable choruses (that occasionally follow quieter middle sections) arriving in wind tunnels of production sound.

Subtler depths are to be discovered in Justin Young’s lyrics, which occasionally give the sonic euphoria a darker undercurrent. In these troubled times, Discount De Kooning (Last One Standing) offers a new take on the old theme of “dance until the bomb drops”. Primitive Man references toxic masculinity, and Another Nightmare gives lyrics about a breakup, pills and therapy a fizzy chorus. There’s nothing that could remotely be described as a ballad this time round, although Love to Walk Away is the sort of widescreen Eighties new wave that could easily fit on to The Breakfast Club soundtrack. No wheels are being reinvented here but it’s another tune-filled, uplifting, solid winner.

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